Journey to the Degree: Fall 2023 Graduates Share Their N.C. A&T Stories

By Staff / 12/11/2023 Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Students

Dymond Allen- Photography by Flicks by J

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 11, 2023) – As the fall 2023 semester comes to a close at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 1,100 students are expected to turn their tassels during the university’s graduate and undergraduate ceremonies Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, respectively.

The journey has been filled with ups and downs, joy and sorrow, but most of all satisfaction and pride. These soon-to-be alumni share their stories of perseverance, dedication, scholarship and innovation.

N.C. A&T students have excelled academically, professionally and personally. While there are hundreds of stories to be told, they represent the diverse intellectual climate, entrepreneurial spirit, civic engagement and academic excellence that characterizes the A&T experience. Below are just a few of their stories, in their own words. Read more on the university’s special commencement website and on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Dymond Allen

“Considering I would be first gen I wasn’t sure how to pursue a degree and what it took. Luckily, I attended Oakland High School [in California] where I was assigned to an Engineering Academy which focused on multiple concentrations of engineering and allowed me to not only love it but also speak with tech executives from Apple, Google, Tesla, etc…not to mention, teach Golden State Warriors’ own Draymond Green how to code.

But once everything started looking up for me, I got the call about my Grandma. This crushed my heart and began making me depressed. It showed in my grades and ultimately left me in a spiral. But my counselor Ms.Tesfai got me right back on track. I applied to a total of 43 colleges and got into 37 of them.

I’m in a Dual Degree Engineering Program which means five years for two engineering bachelor’s degrees from two universities. So, before you think college isn’t possible for you and give up due to all the obstacles you face, please know, I am a living representation that IT IS POSSIBLE.

Now I’m about to graduate from two HBCUs with two #STEM degrees…N.C. A&T: Computer Engineering and Clark Atlanta: Physics.”


Jarian Johnson

“My journey to obtaining a master’s degree was not the easiest. I moved to Louisiana in 2021 to work in my first higher education job, but my time there was cut short. Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in 2021 and damaged my entire apartment complex. I lived in a temporary unit for some time until I was given notice that I had to leave. I had nowhere else to go but back home to North Carolina. I couldn’t find a job. I was stuck with no idea or direction to go in next. My father passed away in late 2021 and I wanted to honor him by getting a master’s degree in education because he worked in education. I looked into the Adult Education program [at A&T] and applied immediately. Dr. Geleana Alston reached out to me with an opportunity. I could instantly feel things turning around for me. I started the program in August 2022, and with hard work, I am able to be graduating just one year later! Jarian Johnson


The Adult Education program gifted me with so networks, and opportunities to grow and learn! Dr. Alston put me in rooms with other higher education professionals, and helped me so much. I even landed a full time position just ONE semester into my master’s program. I know my dad is looking down on me smiling hard! I know I have made everyone in my Master’s program proud, and most importantly, I believed in myself.”

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